“At first I wasn’t finishing well, but in the end it all came together,” the Norwalk senior said. “The more I run up and down (the court), … the more I get into the game, the more focused I become.”
Thomas got into a groove Thursday against non-league opponent Margaretta to the tune of 40 points. The senior was 15-of-23 from the floor and hit five of her seven free-throw shots. She led the way to a 72-46 win for the Lady Truckers.
“You can’t rely on 40 points a game, but for her to give that type of effort, it just opens up everything else for us,” Norwalk (15-5) coach Brock Manlet said.
“Once she gets going she’s tough to stop. It’s kinda lights out after that,” he added. “I thought defensively she was very good too. She did a nice job of trapping and getting into passing lanes.”
Margaretta (11-9) Tim Tucker said he saw his team make a lot of mental mistakes in the passing game and not moving to open spots on the floor.
“When they were double-teaming, that means someone’s open. The kids have to make themselves visible and they did not,” he added.
Norwalk ended the first quarter leading 17-10.
Thomas had 11 of the Lady Truckers’ points in the period and scored the same amount in the second stanza to give her team a 33-18 lead at halftime.
“I didn’t think we were in bad shape at halftime — even being down 15. You know, I thought we had a chance. And then we came out and go outscored by nine (points) to start the third quarter. Every one of them was bad passes,” Tucker said.
“We started well. We just had a couple kids not play well. Some of our supposedly better players are not playing well right now. We need to play well at both ends of the floor,” he added.
For Norwalk, Manlet said it took some time for his squad to get rolling.
“Then all of a sudden, we got a steal and a layup. It seemed to wake us up a little bit. We started playing with some energy,” he explained.
“I thought that was the key to the game. We got into passing lanes, (grabbed some) steals and layups and kinda flustered them a little bit,” added Manlet, who believes his team’s defensive play, a slight a height advantage and overall effort contributed to the win.
Junior Jasmine Thomas led the Lady Truckers with nine rebounds.
“It was a great effort,” her coach said. “I thought she played great.”
Junior Jada Thomas and sophomore Marly Geretz each grabbed five rebounds. Seniors Eboni Barbee and Adrianna Rodriguez added four apiece.
With 6:09 in the third quarter, Norwalk led 43-20, with Jiselle Thomas scoring all but 13 of those points. The Lady Truckers ended the period up 54-34.
Thomas sat down with about 5:30 left in the game. Each Norwalk varsity player contributed in the closing minutes.
Margaretta starting freshman Taylor Malson led the way for the Lady Bears with 11 points. Her cousin, Leah Malson, a junior, plays guard for Norwalk.
“I’m sure it’s gotta be emotional playing against one of your family members, but I’m just proud we took care of business,” Manlet said.
Jayden Moore, another Margaretta freshman, scored 10 points to go with six rebounds.
In jayvee action, the Lady Bears won 37-25. Two Margaretta players hit double digits — sophomores Ashlee Stanley (12 points) and classmate Tori Miller, 10.
Norwalk junior Joci Leto led her team with 11 points.
On Saturday, Norwalk returns to Northern Ohio League action in a home game against Tiffin Columbian. Margaretta goes to Clyde for a Sandusky Bay Conference match that same day.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at "Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger."
Margaretta 10 8 16 12 — 46
Norwalk 17 16 21 18 — 72
Margaretta: Kennedi Hilton 1-0-2, Jennah Yost 1-0-2, Tori Miller 0-2-2, Taylor Malson 4-2-11, Alex Kessler 2-0-4, Alex Michel 1-0-3, Faythe Smetzer 1-0-2, Jayden Moore 4-0-10, Grace Bias 2-0-4, Rochelle Kerns 2-0-6 — 17-7-46
Norwalk: Bethany Cring: 1-0-2, Kaelyn Harkness 3-0-6, Lauryn Maloney 1-2-4, Jada Thomas 0-4-4, Jasmine Thomas 4-0-8, Marly Geretz 1-1-4, Jiselle Thomas 15-5-40, Adrianna Rodriguez 1-0-2, Mya Ray 1-0-2 — 27-13-72